The Heat is on!

 

Trailer

Beverly Hills Cop, a movie from the year 1984, displayed a story about a Detroit police officer who doesn’t quite fit in with the culture in Beverly Hills when dealing with a murder case.

Before this film, Eddie Murphy was not really well known, but this movie definitely increased his popularity and portrayed his comedic genious persona.

The cop has this kind of cocky, but funny personality that amuses the audience. Murphy exudes this cheeky character, but manages to compliment this behavior with comedic instances that really entertain anyone who watches this film.

Hilarious scene from movie

In addition, like Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop also has a soundtrack that became extremely popular in the 80’s and even today. When I heard the opening song to this movie, I could not believe this was where the song came from. I have heard it in recent movies and in games, but I would have never assumed it originated from this film. The song has this mixture of pop and like techno, which is odd, but it somehow manages to be really catchy (allowing it to still be popular today).

Theme song

The song is really uplifting and fun.  It’s got a tune one can easily sing and hum. The beats and tune allow it to be really different from other songs at the time, but it also becomes a bit messy and entertaining. Sort of how the main character of the film is. The theme song of this film really resembles that to Axel’s character.

It’s a shame, because I feel like Eddie Murphy’s talent is so visible in this movie and now it seems to have died down. The movies he makes today are no comparison to Beverly Hills Cop. Today, I think a lot of people would agree that this film has to be one of the best and most entertaining cop films.

 

Why’d It Have To Be Snakes?

How it took me 20 years to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, I will never know. Honestly, I tried a few years back and it couldn’t keep my attention and stopped maybe half-way into it. After watching it in full now, I think I understand why I didn’t enjoy it my first time through. The film has a pretty old school feel to it; the travel sequence is straight out of Casablanca, not to mention the use of shadows to show people’s entrances and their deaths. When I was younger I got no enjoyment out of old movies, so it makes sense I wouldn’t enjoy Raiders. But as I’ve come to like and appreciate the classics, I can finally appreciate the classic, if not a little cheesy, feel to this film.

What really cracked me up is the whole Clark Kent thing Indiana Jones seems to have going on. In class we began to discuss how the lighting in the opening sequence shows Jones as having two sides to his character; his costumes say the same thing. As a professor, Jones dresses in a nice suit, wears a bow tie, styles his hair all slick, and (my personal favorite) wears large glasses. With the exception of his stubble, there’s not much adventurous about this guy.

Somehow, when he’s out treasure hunting, jumping over large ditches and spotting booby traps, he suddenly has no need for his glasses. There is a clear dichotomy to his character, though we only see Clark Kent for a couple of scenes. Superman is the one selling the tickets after all.

The movie turned out to be exactly what I figured it would: a big budget popcorn flick, full of action and lacking in depth. And, while I’ve never been a huge fan of Spielberg or Lucas, I did enjoy Raiders, and I’ll definitely have to check out the other films in the series.

…Well, maybe not Crystal Skull…

One of the top movies of the 80’s

 

Top Gun has to be one of my favorite movies I have watched; not only because Berlin’s, “Take my breath away” is played like almost every 5 minutes, but because of the visuals. I’m just so amazed of the quality of those shots at a time like this. Today, it seems like those scenes would be so easy to film; I just can’t even imagine how difficult it was back then with their technology.

The Beginning for Tony Scott

The Navy fighter pilot scenes are so intense that I didn’t even have time to focus on the characters and their relationships. It was really cheesy, but managed to be really patriotic. This movie was also a great film for Tom Cruise to start out with; although it really didn’t focus on his character, he managed to grab the attention of the ladies at the time the film was released. And I will just never forget that opening scene… SO INTENSE!

There is no doubt that the director of this film is very talented. Top Gun really established his career as a “commercial director” and supported him in making television spots late into his career. Sadly, however, Tony Scott recently committed suicide by jumping off the L.A. bridge. There is no doubt, nonetheless, that he will forever be distinguished by the intense visual style he elicits into his films that allow viewers to be captured into his huge action scenes. I found it to be a coincidence that at the time I watched this film the director was being talked about all over the news; a rather upsetting coincidence at that (his story could be read at http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/19/local/la-me-tony-scott-20120820).

The sad tale of Tony Scott will forever go down in film history as a tragedy, but he will also be remembered for the huge success he brought about to Hollywood film. Top Gun still is an 80’s classic that would not only boost the success of action films, but will also bring about the big stars in the film industry.

 

 

Bad Guys in Beverly Hills Have the Worst Aim

Beverly Hills Cop is essentially a tale of two cities. Director Martin Brest throws Detroit Detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) into cushy Beverly Hills, and in turn pits the culture of the two cities against each other. Right away the film opens on Detroit, a city featured in many cop films, including the one I did my previous post on: Robocop. Like Robocop, this film portrays Detroit as a dirty city covered with graffiti, with poor/blue collar citizens hanging out in the streets. But Brest makes this Detroit seem a lot friendlier than the one Paul Verhoeven shows in Robocop. The citizens, both children and adults, are socializing with their friends and appear to be having fun. This set up during the credit sequence is necessary, as Beverly Hills Cop is a comedy first and an action film second; Brest wanted to create a fun and lighthearted atmosphere.

The audience is introduced to Axel as soon as the opening credit sequence is over, though he is not revealed to be a cop until after he botches an (unauthorized) undercover job and is subsequently chewed out by his boss. This introduction shows the type of character Axel is, and his cunning, not-by-the-book way of policing holds up after he takes his “vacation” to Beverly Hills to investigate the murder of his best friend.

Axel’s arrival in Beverly Hills mirrors the opening credits, and shows that Axel is a fish out of water. Driving into the city he is followed by a classic car, with palm trees lining the road. The buildings are gorgeous and gated, the stores are as ritzy as can be, and all of the cars put his “crappy blue Chevy Nova” to shame. The more obvious comparison comes when he meets the Beverly Hills police. Although he is a detective, Axel dresses very blue collar; the entire film he is wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. Conversely all of the upper level Beverly Hills cops are stuffy guys in suits.

We’re taught never to judge a book by its cover, but the differences in how Axel and Taggart dress tells us all about their differences in character.

In the end though it’s Axel’s way of policing that saves the day. Detectives Taggart and Rosewood follow Axel’s lead into an enemy’s house without a search warrant, and even their Lieutenant lies to the Chief about what happened. This all comes after an hour and a half of the Beverly Hills cops telling Axel that they do things by the book, and do not lie about what transpires on cases. Their proper way of policing truthfully makes them look like fools; while being shot at Rosewood actually stands up with his badge in the air and proclaims, “POLICE! YOU’RE ALL UNDER ARREST!” The result though is deeper than telling the audience that the backdoor way of doing things trumps doing things the right way. Axel shows the Beverly Hills cops friendship. He shows them that being cops makes them brothers, and that they are allowed to bend the rules because it’s how they look out for one another.

The film also provides us with a legendary theme song, that 20+ years laters kids will recognize as the song from Family Guy that Peter dances to when he goes back in time…

You’re Gonna Be a Bad MotherF*cker

With the remake coming out next year, I figured it was about time to see the original RoboCop (1987). It did not disappoint, and it was actually more than I anticipated it to be. I went into it preparing for a sci-fi action movie, full of gun fire and explosions, and I did get that. In fact there was enough guts and gore to make one think it was a Freddy Krueger film. The action isn’t what made the film stand out though. That part was predictable; it used the same formula cop movies have been using for years: partners are chasing down the bad guys, coincidentally there is no back up available, one partner dies, there’s a huge shootout in a warehouse, then in the end one of the assumed “good guys” has been working with the bad guys. The only added aspect is that the dead partner comes back as a robotic super cop. What made this cop film stand out is how much the director had to say about culture in Detroit, and America in general.

Throughout the film there are random clips from a news station reporting on current events. Every clip seems to involve real life problems in 1980s Detroit, such as unemployment and uncontrollable crime. What makes it even worse is that the bad news is so common that the news anchors don’t even care; they don’t even blink an eye when they report on an accident where 113 people are killed, including two former Presidents of our own country. But along with every news clip comes a commercial concerning new technology. The movie even opens with a news story followed by a commercial for a mechanical heart made by Yamaha. The fact that the director would include all of these commercials shows that he is trying to inform his audience about the dangers of technology and consumerism, which is made even more clear in the car commercial for the “6000 SUX,” parodying the real life Pontiac 6000. That RoboCop defeats the film’s antagonists without his mask, embracing his human side, continues to confirm this reading of the film.

The themes of consumerism and industry really made this movie more than just another cop flick. But it makes me wonder about the upcoming remake: how are they going to modernize the news segments? As a culture we are still very materialistic, and technology has grown immensely since 1987, so what are we going to see now? Will people be waiting in line for days for the release of the iSux 5?

The only other note I have about RoboCop is that, as a fan of That 70’s Show, it was so weird to see Kurtwood Smith in a role where he doesn’t call somebody a dumbass. It does explain why Red was so bitter throughout the show though…

The whole movie I was hoping for, “Get back RoboCop…you dumbass!”